Reviews

Samsung Odyssey OLED G95SC

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Originally published 4 August 2023, last updated 13 November 2023

Introduction

OLED monitors have taken off in a big way over the last year or so and we’ve finally seen a range of different sized options appear in the monitor market. We’ve reviewed 34″ ultrawide models like the Dell Alienware AW3423DW, 27″ 1440p models like the LG 27GR95QE and Asus ROG Swift PG27AQDM, 45″ curved and bendable ultrawides like the Corsair Xeneon Flex 45WQHD240 and even large format 42″ 4K TV-sized displays like the LG 42C3 (latest 2023 model), Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ and KTC G42P5. There’s been something for everyone really, but now Samsung are entering the market with a new OLED monitor format.

The Samsung Odyssey OLED G95SC (sometimes shortened to “Odyssey OLED G9″) is a 49″ sized screen with a super ultrawide 32:9 aspect ratio. It’s built around a Samsung QD-OLED (Quantum Dot OLED) panel like all the 34” ultrawide OLED monitors are currently, and has a 5120 x 1440 resolution, the equivalent of two 1440p monitors joined together. The screen has a fairly subtle 1800R curvature, not quite as aggressive as their previous G9 LCD monitors which have a far more aggressive 1000R curvature.

It’s also got a 240Hz refresh rate which is supported by adaptive-sync for variable refresh rates from compatible NVIDIA and AMD systems. It includes certification under AMD’s ‘FreeSync Premium Pro’ scheme too. There’s also a 0.03ms G2G rated response time thanks to the OLED panel’s near instant response times. Being an OLED panel it also offers pixel level dimming with true blacks, near infinite contrast ratio and no blooming or halos during usage. It’s very well suited to HDR content as a result and includes certification under the VESA ‘DisplayHDR 400 True Black’ scheme, not to be confused with the lowly HDR 400 scheme for LCD’s. Oddly Samsung don’t list a peak brightness spec for HDR on their product pages, but we will of course test that later anyway.

The G95SC also includes a range of Smart TV features and functions, extending its capabilities beyond a normal PC monitor. We’ll put the screen through all our usual tests and see how the screen performs.

Where to Buy
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Key Specs and Features

  • 49″ super ultrawide format with 32:9 aspect ratio QD-OLED panel (Samsung CY-AC490QLLV1H)
  • Subtle 1800R curvature
  • 5120 x 1440 resolution
  • 240Hz refresh rate with adaptive-sync VRR (AMD ‘FreeSync Premium Pro’ and NVIDIA ‘G-sync Compatible’ certified)
  • 0.03ms G2G rated response time
  • Wide colour gamut with Quantum Dot coating delivering 99% DCI-P3 coverage
  • 250 cd/m2 typical brightness (SDR), HDR peak brightness spec not listed
  • OLED panel offering per pixel dimming, true blacks and near infinite contrast ratio
  • VESA ‘DisplayHDR 400 True Black’ certification
  • Video connections: 1x DisplayPort 1.4 (with DSC), 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x Micro HDMI 2.1, 1x USB type-C (with DP Alt mode and W power delivery)
  • Stand with tilt and height adjustments
  • Smart TV functionality including streaming apps and Gaming Hub

Design and Features

The screen comes in a black and silver design with a very thin form factor thanks to the OLED panel and a big and chunky stand to support the super ultrawide screen. There is a thin 2mm silver plastic edge around all sides, then a black panel border that takes the total edge around the top and sides to ~12mm. The bottom edge has a thicker dark grey glossy bezel as well, taking the total border to ~22mm along that side. You can see that the screen has a very wide panel, make sure you have ample room on your desk as it really is a beast!

The screen has a subtle 1800R curvature, something we prefer to the aggressive 1000R curvature of some of Samsung’s older monitors, including the Odyssey G9 LCD offerings. It still gives you a nice immersive feeling and brings the edges a bit closer to you which is very useful for such a wide screen, but without being overly curved and distorting the image too much.

The stand is a chunky with a 360mm wide silver metal foot, that provides a sturdy and stable base for the large screen. The foot is simple and quick to screw in to the large arm which is finished in a matte black plastic on the front, and a silver colour plastic on the back (shown below). There’s a cable tidy hole in the stand too. The stand provides only tilt and height adjustment which are both pretty smooth and easy to use. Since the screen is so large, it does wobble a bit when you move it around, but day to day it feels sturdy on your desk.

There’s some RGB lighting on the back of the screen around where the stand connects from Samsung’s ‘CoreSync’ and ‘Core Lighting+’ capable lights. A range of lighting effects and a very wide range of colour options are available via the OSD and the lighting looks attractive from the back of the screen. It’s not super bright, but manages to cast a subtle glow against a wall behind it, and down on to your desktop when viewed from the front.

You can see on the back of the screen a small joystick controller for the OSD menu which you can use in place of the remote control if you want. It’s intuitive and easy to use and pretty snappy.

when using the joystick control button, this quick access menu appears. More on the OSD in a moment

The menu itself is not the easiest to navigate around though. We will talk a bit more about that in a moment, it’s definitely worth discussing in more detail.

Connectivity

For video connectivity there are 1x DisplayPort 1.4 (with DSC), 1x HDMI 2.1 and 1x Micro HDMI 2.1. There is also a 2 port USB hub and the USB upstream connection on the back which are USB-C shape, but cannot support power delivery or DisplayPort Alt mode, they are purely data ports.

Rotated view of the video ports

While we’re on the subject of connections these really do seem to be poorly thought out and incredibly difficult to get to and use. For some reason they are mostly tucked along the inside of the section at the back, making them really hard to get to and see. We realise that this is probably an attempt to try and keep the cables tucked out of the way and hidden, but if so, why is the power connection just stuck on the back?! Surely that is more useful to tuck away than the video connections? The micro HDMI is also rear facing which is probably good since it’s so tiny, but the whole thing feels a bit random. On a screen this large it’s difficult to see and reach behind it and find the relevant connections and it was a real struggle sometimes.

At one point we thought we might as well use the included HDMI to Micro HDMI cable so it’s easier to get to on the screen, only to find that it’s a ridiculously short 1m in length, and not long enough to even reach my PC which is hardly a long way away from the screen. It’s these kind of touches that lead to poor first impressions and makes you feel like the thought was there, but that Samsung haven’t really executed it very well.

Smart TV, Remote Control and OSD

Interestingly this monitor also includes a range of Smart TV features including access to streaming apps and a Game Hub. The screen is powered by their Neo Quantum Processor Pro chip which makes all of this possible Samsung say. Samsung do have a version of this screen without the Smart TV apps planned as well at a lower price point. The Smart TV features make the OLED G9  a decent multi-purpose display beyond just a normal desktop monitor, including the 2x 5W built-in speakers for some basic sound support if you need.

You can more quickly and easily (in theory!) adjust the screen and control the apps using the provided small remote control accessory. We have no idea why Samsung decided to package the screen with a white-coloured mini remote though. When the screen design is black and silver, why white?! This seems a very odd choice, especially when you look at the user manual and see other similar black coloured remotes also pictured for their other products.

Before we get in to the setup and measurements we wanted to quickly talk about the settings menu and remote control a bit more. The user experience here seems to have been poorly thought out and to be honest we found the screen very annoying to use. Firstly, there isn’t even a button on the remote to open up the normal monitor settings menu!

You can click and hold the play/pause button which loads up the quick access Game menu but then it’s several more scrolls and button presses before you even get to the normal monitor settings menu. If you turn Game mode off in the menu, you then actually can’t get to the settings at all via the remote, as that short cut is then disabled! It’s a terrible user experience and you have to resort to using the joystick controller on the back of the screen instead.

The other very annoying thing about the remote is that it’s very easy to accidentally press the home button which takes you away from your input and back to the Smart TV menu. It’s then several presses to get back to the input you were using. Same thing with the channel up and down buttons, if you press one of those accidentally it takes you to the streaming channels, and you have to navigate all round the menu to get back to your PC input again.

Once you’re in the menu there is a good range of settings to play with, but some of them are hidden within several layers of menu. For instance why are things like brightness and colour controls hidden within the expert settings section of the picture menu? That means a total of 9 presses/scrolls on the joystick to get just to that one section, or 15 if you’re using the remote. It just takes ages to get to the key sections you might actually want to use frequently. Another annoyance is that once you want to close the OSD menu, you can’t simply press and hold the back arrow on the remote like you would expect – doing so actually takes you back to the Smart TV home menu! You have to press the back arrow multiple times to get out of each section and close the menu. It’s nice to have a remote included, but the whole interface and navigation experience needs to be better thought through and tested. At the moment it’s terribly counter-intuitive and annoying to use.

One other annoyance related to the Smart TV functionality is that if you power your PC off or put it to sleep, the screen takes 1 minute to go to sleep itself while it checks for an input signal, or you can manually press to confirm you want it to turn off. It wakes up quickly again once it has gone to sleep, but going to sleep is not like a normal monitor.

Testing Methodology Explained (SDR)

Performance is measured and evaluated with a high degree of accuracy using a range of testing devices and software. The results are carefully selected to provide the most useful and relevant information that can help evaluate the display while filtering out the wide range of information and figures that will be unnecessary. For measurement, we use a UPRtek MK550T spectroradiometer which is particularly accurate for colour gamut and colour spectrum measurements. We also use an X-rite i1 Pro 2 Spectrophotometer and a X-rite i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter for various measurements. Several other software packages are incorporated including Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software – available from Portrait.com.

We measure the screen at default settings (with all ICC profiles deactivated and factory settings used), and any other modes that are of interest such as sRGB emulation presets. We then calibrate and profile the screen before re-measuring the calibrated state.

The results presented can be interpreted as follows:

  • Gamma – we aim for 2.2 gamma which is the default for computer monitors in SDR mode. Testing of some modes might be based on a different gamma but we will state that in the commentary if applicable. A graph is provided tracking the 2.2 gamma across different grey shades and ideally the grey line representing the monitor measurements should be horizontal and flat at the 2.2 level, marked by the yellow line. Depending on where the gamma is too low or too high, it can have an impact on the image in certain ways. You can see our gamma explanation graph to help understand that more. Beneath the gamma graph we include the average overall gamma achieved along with the average for dark shades (0 black to 50 grey) and for lighter shades (50 grey to 100 white).

  • RGB Balance and colour temperature – the RGB balance graph shows the relative balance between red, green and blue primaries at each grey shade, from 0 (black) to 100 (white). Ideally all 3 lines should be flat at the 100% level which would represent a balanced 6500K average colour temperature for all grey shades. This is the target colour temperature for desktop monitors, popular colour spaces like sRGB and ‘Display DCI-P3’ and is also the temperature of daylight. It is the most common colour temperature for displays, also sometimes referred to as D65. Where the RGB lines deviate from this 100% flat level the image may become too warm or cool, or show a tint towards a certain colour visually. Beneath this RGB balance graph we provide the average correlated colour temperature for all grey shades measured, along with its percentage deviance from the 6500K target. We also provide the white point colour temperature and its deviance from 6500K, as this is particularly important when viewing lots of white background and office content.

  • Greyscale dE – this graph tracks the accuracy of each greyscale shade measured from 0 (black) to 100 (white). The accuracy of each grey shade will be impacted by the colour temperature and gamma of the display. The lower the dE the better, with differences of <1 being imperceptible (marked by the green line on the graph), and differences between 1 and 3 being small (below the yellow line). Anything over dE 3 needs correcting and causes more obvious differences in appearance relative to what should be shown. In the table beneath the graph we provide the average dE across all grey shades, as well as the white point dE (important when considering using the screen for lots of white background and office content), and the max greyscale dE as well.

  • Luminance, black depth and contrast ratio (static) – measuring the brightness, black depth and resulting contrast ratio of the mode being tested, whether that is at default settings or later after calibration and profiling. We aim for 120 cd/m2 luminance which is the recommended luminance for LCD/OLED desktop monitors in normal lighting conditions. Black depth should be as low as possible, and contrast ratio should be as high as possible.

  • Gamut coverage – we provide measurements of the screens colour gamut relative to various reference spaces including sRGB, DCI-P3, Adobe RGB and Rec.2020. Coverage is shown in absolute numbers as well as relative, which helps identify where the coverage extends beyond a given reference space. A CIE-1976 chromaticity diagram (which provides improved accuracy compared with older CIE-1931 methods) is included which provides a visual representation of the monitors colour gamut coverage triangle as compared with sRGB, and if appropriate also relative to a wide gamut reference space such as DCI-P3. The reference triangle will be marked on the CIE diagram as well.

  • dE colour accuracy – a wide range of colours are tested and the colour accuracy dE measured. We compare these produced colours to the sRGB reference space, and if applicable when measuring a wide gamut screen we also provide the accuracy relative to a specific wide gamut reference such as DCI-P3. An average dE and maximum dE is provided along with an overall screen rating. The lower the dE the better, with differences of <1 being imperceptible (marked by the green area on the graph), and differences between 1 and 3 being small (yellow areas). Anything over dE 3 needs correcting and causes more obvious differences in appearance relative to what should be shown. dE 2000 is used for improved accuracy and providing a better representation of what you would see as a user, compared with older dE methods like dE 1994, as it takes into account the human eye’s perceptual sensitivity to different colours. 

Default setup

The screen comes out of the box set in its ECO mode, with a fairly modest brightness setting of 30 (out of 50) in the OSD menu. One thing we did notice straight away was that the image was overly sharp, so we turned the sharpness control down from its default setting of 10 to 7. This provided a more normal sharpness, still looking very sharp and crisp. We will talk about the text rendering a bit more in the ‘office and general usage’ section of the review, as Samsung have made some improvements here compared with first generation QD-OLED monitors.

The default ECO mode had a decent setup in terms of gamma, colour temperature and greyscale. The gamma was a little low in places but averaged at 2.14 across the greyscale which was decent. The balance of red, green and blue channels was very good, and we had a very good greyscale temperature with 6541K average, and a very good white point at 6468K (0% deviance from our target). The greyscale accuracy was good as a result with an average dE of 2.2. We also had a modest 170 nits brightness in this default state, and thanks to the OLED panel we had a basically infinite contrast ratio with true blacks being possible. We will test brightness range and any OLED dimming behaviour in a moment.

In the top left hand CIE diagram you can see that the screen has a very wide native gamut thanks to the use of Quantum Dot coating, extending far beyond the sRGB reference space and reaching a very large 147.1% relative coverage. There was a lot of over-coverage in red and green shades in particular, leading to a very saturated and vivid image. Because the colour gamut was so wide, the accuracy of sRGB colours was of course pretty poor, with a dE average of 4.5. That’s to be expected when you view sRGB / SDR content on a wide gamut screen, especially one this wide.

From the bottom section we can see that the colour space also extends a long way beyond the DCI-P3 reference in red shades especially. We had a 117.3% relative coverage of DCI-P3 here, but with the panel’s colour space now more closely matching the reference space, the colour accuracy of P3 colours was better, with a 2.2 dE average measured. There’s also a wide coverage of the Adobe RGB space available which means that if you’ve got the means to profile the screen to that colour space, you could use this panel for colour critical or photography work in the Adobe RGB gamut nicely.

Factory Calibration

There is also a factory calibrated mode, but this is another area that is frankly stupid. According to the OSD menu section which reports the factory calibration result, the calibration is applicable to the ‘graphic’ preset mode. Stupidly you can only get to this mode when disabling Game mode (which is on by default), it’s not even a selectable preset mode otherwise, even though there are loads of others. So only if you disable Game mode first, can you then choose from a much smaller list of preset modes, one of which is the factory calibrated ‘graphic’ mode. Such an odd decision.

Oh, and on that note you can’t’ even get to preset modes within the main OSD, only from the Game Mode quick launch bar that’s accessible using the remote control. So you can’t get to them using the OSD controller joystick at all! This is tiring…

Thankfully this mode isn’t really needed anyway as the setup is largely the same as the default ECO mode we’d tested before (within the Game mode options). Very similar gamma, colour temp and greyscale.

There was no change to the colour performance either really in this mode. It’s good that the default ECO mode seems to also carry the same level of factory calibrated ‘graphic’ mode, but the whole experience of trying to get to this preset just felt, again, poorly thought through.

  • See later in this review for our recommended calibration screen settings

sRGB Emulation

Samsung have thankfully made is easy to switch to an sRGB emulation mode for occasions where you want to work with SDR content and get a more accurate setup and colour performance for that usage. There’s a ‘colour space setting’ option in the OSD menu (quite deep within the menu of course) with options for auto, normal, native and custom available. You still retain access to other controls like brightness, colour temp, gamma etc when you change this setting too, so it’s not a locked down mode like these are on some monitors.

The ‘auto’ mode will give you emulation of the sRGB colour space from Windows, so we measured that mode:

The gamma, colour temp, white point and greyscale remained basically the same as before from the default ECO mode, or the factory calibrated Graphic mode. No meaningful changes here which is probably to be expected as we’ve simply switched the colour space mapping.

There are significant improvements though in the colour space and colour accuracy section. You can see on the left that the colour gamut of the panel has been very nicely clamped back to the sRGB reference, giving us a 99.3% absolute coverage which was very good, and only a very minor over-coverage with 102.4% relative coverage measured. This had cut down on the large over-saturation and over-coverage we had before. With the screen now operating in this smaller colour space, we had good accuracy of sRGB colours with an average dE of 1.8 measured. This represents a good mode for SDR / sRGB work.

Out of interest we also measured the colour space in the ‘normal’ gamut mode which seemed to emulate the DCI-P3 colour space quite closely. It certainly cut down on the fairly significant over-coverage in red shades that we had before in the native mode, but went a little too far in blue shades. If you were wanting to work specifically with P3 content and reduce the native gamut a little, then this mode might be useful. There’s no provided emulation mode for the Adobe RGB space though which is a shame, as the screen can nicely cover that gamut, but needs clamping to give better accuracy. If you want to work with Adobe RGB workflows you will need to profile the screen for colour aware applications using a calibration device.

  • See later in this review for our recommended calibration screen settings

Brightness and Contrast

This section tests the full range of luminance (the brightness of the screen) possible, while changing the monitor’s brightness setting in the OSD menu. This allows us to measure the maximum and minimum adjustment ranges, as well as identify the recommended setting to reach a target of 120 cd/m2 for comfortable day to day use in normal lighting conditions, or for other common brightness levels if you prefer something a bit brighter. Some users have specific requirements for a very bright display, while others like a much darker display for night time viewing or in low ambient light conditions. At each brightness level we also measure the contrast ratio produced by the screen when comparing a small white sample vs. a black sample (not unrealistic full screen white vs. full screen black tests). The contrast ratio should remain stable across the adjustment range so we also check that.

Tests were made using an X-rite i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter paired with the Calman Ultimate software for very high levels of accuracy. Measurements were taken on a patch in the centre of the screen, and after settings were adjusted on the monitor as per the ‘calibration’ section above, including any adjustments necessary to reach a ~6500K white point. We left any ICC profile inactive though so as to best represent a typical setup, with only basic OSD adjustments included. This avoids measuring luminance for modes which may be artificially cool in order to increase brightness for instance. A 10% APL window size was used for measurements.

In SDR mode the luminance range of the screen is reasonable, with a maximum brightness measured at 242 cd/m2, a little shy of the 250 cd/m2 advertised brightness, but still close. This is modest compared with LCD monitors which can often reach 400 – 500 cd/m2, so keep that in mind. It’s fairly typical for an OLED monitor though, and the good news is that this brightness remains consistent for all images and window sizes.

There is no need for the ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) to be used in SDR mode at all. You can see from the graph above that the brightness remains consistent (pretty much) for all window sizes and at all brightness levels. You don’t need to worry about the image brightening or darkening as you move or resize windows.

There is also a fairly wide adjustment range available from the screen, reaching down to a pretty low 62 cd/m2 at the lowest setting. If you need a brighter screen for any reason or are used to using one at 300 – 400 nits or more, then OLED panels will probably be too restrictive for you. We would have liked a slightly lower adjustment range for darker rooms too, although 62 nits is likely to be adequate for most. We have provided some recommended settings for reaching 120, 150 and 200 cd/m2 above too if you need.

We are aware that Rtings.com have recently reviewed the screen and measured a higher SDR brightness capability up to ~440 cd/m2 but commented that this was only possible if you enable the ‘peak brightness’ control as well, and that it then leads to fairly aggressive ABL behaviour. In our testing, the peak brightness setting isn’t available while running in Windows SDR mode at all, but we’ve reached out to Rtings to clarify how they were testing that. We mention it in case people see both and get confused. We suspect this is available when running in Windows HDR mode all the time, and then measuring desktop brightness (with SDR test pattern) when you’ve turned peak brightness on. Either way, for normal SDR and desktop usage we believe it’s better to leave peak brightness off, and avoid the need for ABL at all as per our measurements above.

Black Depth, Shadow Detail and Contrast

Obviously one of the key benefits of this OLED panel is the fact it can generate true blacks and a basically infinite contrast ratio. Each pixel can be fully turned off individually, resulting in basically an infinite contrast ratio. There’s no need for backlight local dimming here like there is on LCD’s and the black depth and contrast ratio surpass all LCD panel technologies including VA panels by a long way. Blacks look inky and deep, and you get local contrast between different areas of an image. Your ambient lighting may have an impact though on perceived contrast ratio though due to the Quantum Dot coating and the lack of a polarizer. In moderate to brighter rooms this leads to a fairly noticeable drop in contrast and black depth, more so than on competing WOLED panels which do use a polarizer. Best viewing experience is in a darker room, although the same can be said really for any display panel.

The near black shadow detail was reasonable but it was hard to pick out very dark grey shades in this test image with box 4 being the first that was easy to distinguish. This is something that can often be an issue on OLED panels. We tried different options within the OSD menu and this was not possible to improve really in any meaningful way, even with the specific ‘shadow detail’ setting. It is better in HDR mode though where all boxes are distinguishable from one another.

Minor backlight fluctuation at all OLED brightness settings, in sync with refresh rate.
Otherwise the screen is classified as “flicker free”. Horizontal scale = 5ms (240Hz shown)

Like most OLED screens there is a minor fluctuation of the backlight, and in this case it operates in sync with the refresh rate, whatever you have that set at. Above it’s operating at 240Hz so there’s a small fluctuation every 4.17ms. You can see on the graph above that the 0V would be an “off” state, so the amplitude of this fluctuation is minor, and does not produce any visible flickering or anything like that in practice. It’s not the same as PWM on an LCD monitor where the backlight is rapidly switched fully off and on when trying to dim the brightness level. Obviously being an OLED panel there is no backlight here anyway, and this minor fluctuation didn’t cause us any problems in real use and would be considered flicker free.

Where to Buy

Office and General Use

In many ways the G95SC is very well suited to office and general uses, although in some ways it isn’t as it has a few limitations due to its QD-OLED panel. First of all the form factor and massive screen size is a pleasure to work with for office content, allowing you to have multiple open windows side by side. In some situations we found the vertical resolution a little restrictive (only 1440 pixels high) as we’ve been using a lot of 4K (3840 x 2160) displays lately, and when you have such a large horizontal area (5120 pixels wide) it sometimes makes apps feel a bit squashed. It does give you a massive horizontal area though which is great for multi-tasking and split screen working, and it’s a more elegant and attractive option we think than dual monitors.

The screens brightness should be adequate for most users, reaching up to around 242 nits maximum in SDR mode, and without the need for ABL to be used at all. This is great news as it ensures a consistent and stable brightness no matter the content you view, or no matter your window sizes. The screen can’t reach as bright as LCD panels for desktop use, but 242 nits is still decent, and unless you need to use the screen in a very bright room, it should be more than adequate.

There is an ambient light sensor built in to the screen as well as a range of power saving settings that could impact brightness or make usage simpler for varying room conditions.

Sub-pixel Layout and Text Rendering

Pixel structure of the gen 1 QD-OLED panel used in the Dell Alienware AW3423DW in 2022
Pixel structure of the newer gen 2 2023 QD-OLED panel used in the Samsung G95SC

One thing we did immediately do when we set the screen up was to turn down the sharpness setting in the OSD menu from its default 10, which is overly sharp, to a setting of 7. This delivered a more natural looking image and offered largely very sharp and crisp text. Because of the somewhat unusual triangular shaped RGB sub-pixel layout, you do get some slight text fringing in places, although we do think this has been improved with the Odyssey OLED G95SC compared with the first generation of QD-OLED monitors like the Dell Alienware AW3423DW we tested last year.

The panel being used here is from Samsung’s second generation of QD-OLED, with a slightly improved subpixel size and shape, still in the triangular RGB layout, but improving text rendering a bit. We felt the fringing was less noticeable than on the LG.Display WOLED panels we’ve been using recently to be honest, such as the LG 42C3 we’ve just finished reviewing and that was on our test bench before this screen. You get some issues still, it’s not “fixed”, but it feels better in day to day content we think. We didn’t really experience any major issues with office and general use, although this will vary by user.

OLED Panel Care

In terms of OLED panel care there are two options in the OSD menu. One is for a familiar pixel shifter that will move the image a few pixels at a time periodically. We find this annoying for desktop use although at least the panel seems to be over-provisioned in pixels so the image never gets cut off at the edges thankfully. The other is for logo dimming which didn’t seem to cause any issues in desktop usage, so is probably useful to leave on for dynamic content to help with TV logos and HUD’s in games. Thankfully there is no ASBL (Automatic Static Brightness Limiter) used here, so the screen does not dim when you’re using it for desktop usage. If you leave it unattended for a period of time. That can be a pain on some screens like the LG 42C3 for instance.

Screen coating

The screen coating of the QD-OLED panel is what we’d call “semi glossy”. It retains most of the clear and crisp picture quality of a fully glossy solution, but without having major reflections to worry about. In certain situations and lighting conditions you will certainly see more reflections than a matte coated screen and light isn’t diffused in the same way, but during typical day to day usage, even with a window facing the screen we didn’t find it too bad at all. The coating can make colours and blacks pop a bit more, in the right lighting conditions. We quite like the coating balance here personally.

One issue with QD-OLED that is often incorrectly attributed to the semi glossy panel coating is the reduction in black depth and perceived contrast when viewing the screen in brighter room conditions. This is actually caused by the quantum dot layer, and the fact that the panel does not have a normal polarizer, and this causes some of the ambient light to reflect back at you, leading to a drop in perceived contrast and black depth. That’s still an issue here although blacks still look very good and should still look superior to LCD technologies in most situations. For optimal viewing, and this goes for any OLED really, you want to be using the screen in a darker room, with lower ambient lighting. For day to day general and office work, which is what we’re talking about in this section, it’s not really an issue.

Blue Light and Eye Care Modes

The native panel spectral distribution is shown above at a calibrated 6500K white point, where the blue peak is at 453 nm. This means it is not part of the Eyesafe certified range of products where there is a supposed harmful range between 415 – 455nm. This also includes a 26.18% blue light ratio.

There aren’t any specific blue light reduction modes in the OSD menu, but there is an ‘Eye Care’ section, with settings for low and high available. Oddly these seem to be entirely locked down modes, and there’s quite a long black screen pause when you switch in to them. When using those modes, all the picture settings are locked and unavailable, so you are at the mercy of the defined brightness and colour temp from the factory. We measured a slightly warmer 5453K in the ‘low’ mode, but with a brighter ~170 nits compared with our calibrated ‘off’ mode. The ‘high’ mode was a similar 5551K but at a lower brightness level of ~100 nits. These two modes probably aren’t of much use given they are slow to enable, and everything is locked down when you use them, making them very inflexible.

Image retention risks and OLED issues

We will not go too much in to potential concerns around lifespan of the OLED panel, colour shift, dark spots or image retention/burn-in here. You can read our OLED Displays and the Monitor Market article for more information about those potential issues. As a desktop monitor if you are going to use the screen for many hours per day, some of these things might become an issue in time. In our fairly short period of time testing and using the screen we noticed no issues in any of these areas.

If you are using the screen a lot as a desktop monitor and working with a lot of static content you will probably want to consider things like auto-hiding your taskbar, setting a screensaver to run etc. If you’re working with a lot of stationary windows for office work, internet browsing, photos etc then the risk of burn-in increases and to be honest that’s a bit of an annoyance with an OLED screen like this. These are things you don’t need to worry about with a typical LCD desktop monitor but it’s always in the back of your mind when using an OLED screen.

There are several screen protection features built in to the screen that we discussed earlier in the ‘OLED Care’ section. Some of these prove more annoying for office and static use than others. In particular we find the pixel shift function annoying, spotting a sudden jump of a few pixels periodically. You won’t notice this in gaming or dynamic content, but then it’s of less value there anyway. The screen saver function is worth leaving on as it will dim the display if it detects static content and assumes you’ve left the screen alone. We never saw this kick in during any normal desktop or office use thankfully, and it’s far less aggressive than some ASBL features you get on OLED TV’s. Logo dimming had no obvious adverse effects in desktop use so is worth leaving on. Don’t forget to run the image cleaning function when prompted, as it seems this is not done automatically on this screen.

There is no mention on the Samsung warranty page about cover for image retention or burn-in and in fact it’s listed as an exception on that page. We hope Samsung will provide some kind of cover specifically for image retention, as other OLED monitor manufacturers like Dell and Corsair for instance have done this. Otherwise buyers may need to be additionally cautious if they are concerned that their usage pattern runs a higher risk of burn-in. This is a shame, and we’d like to see a braver warranty from these leading manufacturers with their OLED screens.

Gaming

Let’s look at gaming as after all, this is a screen aimed primarily at gaming usage and multimedia. When we first connected up the screen we couldn’t select anything above 120Hz from our NVIDIA control panel. Oddly the Samsung user manual lists 120Hz as the optimal refresh rate too, even though the screen can support up to 240Hz at its full 5120 x 1440 resolution. We tried several DisplayPort and HDMI 2.1 cables and nothing seemed to work. After a lot of troubleshooting a full NVIDIA driver reset and update fixed it, but we’ve never had to do this on any high end spec monitor in the past. Again this somewhat impacted our first impressions of the screen. We did at least get it working after a while though.

The screen uses an OLED panel which is well-known for its near-instant response times. As a result it does not need to use overdrive technology in the same way as a desktop LCD panel would, and there aren’t any controls for the response time or overdrive in the OSD menu. We are reliant on Samsung’s tuning of the response times. Samsung quote a pretty absurd 0.03ms G2G response time in their spec, and while true <1ms G2G should be expected from this technology it is over the top to start suggesting they are really going to reach that low. With LCD’s being regularly listed as 1ms, we will cut Samsung and other OLED manufacturers some slack in trying to articulate how much quicker OLED is relative to LCD panels, but we’d still rather see realistic and achievable response time figures quoted.

(at native resolution)Refresh Rate
Maximum Refresh Rate DisplayPort240Hz
Maximum Refresh Rate HDMI240Hz
VRR range48 – 240Hz + LFC

The screen has a native 240Hz refresh rate which makes it quite a lot faster than first generation QD-OLED monitors that operated at 175Hz max. This is equal to other 27″ and 45″ WOLED panels on the market though that have been released since. We will discuss how this impacts motion clarity and gaming experience in a moment, but this is a refresh rate getting much closer to what’s available in the LCD space – which are now quite commonly available at 360Hz, with a few starting to appear that go even higher. You will be able to push higher frame rates up to 240fps here compared with other OLED displays which if your system can reach them, will help reduce your overall end to end system lag too.

You are of course going to need a powerful system and graphics card to run 5120 x 1440 (dual 27″ 1440p) at 240Hz though, so keep that in mind! It will also need to be a modern card that supports either DSC via DisplayPort, or supports HDMI 2.1. This might be one of those things where you’re future proofing yourself for later on as graphics cards and systems become more powerful, or perhaps you just play older games or at lower graphic settings and can prioritise frame rates. The super wide resolution isn’t supported by all games either, so keep that in mind. Where it is supported, the 32:9 aspect ratio and massive screen size provide a really impressive and immersive experience. If your games are more typical 16:9 aspect ratio then keep in mind you’re going to need to play with black borders down the sides, but you’ve got the option to do both here. 16:9 aspect ratio at 2560 x 1440 is also handled nicely with 1:1 pixel mapping so it works very well.

VRR capabilities and Certification
AMD FreeSync Premium certification
FreeSync Premium Pro
Native NVIDIA G-sync module
NVIDIA ‘G-sync Compatible’ certified
HDMI-VRR (consoles via HDMI 2.1)

To help support the 5120 x 1440 @ 240Hz the screen features adaptive-sync, giving Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) support for both NVIDIA and AMD systems which is great news. The screen has also been certified under the AMD ‘FreeSync Premium Pro’ scheme and also NVIDIA’s ‘G-sync Compatible’ scheme. This should give some added reassurance around VRR performance.

The screen includes a Game Hub within the Smart TV apps which may be useful to some users

OLED panel benefits for gaming and additional features

The OLED panel provides super-deep blacks and infinite contrast ratio which is of course excellent for gaming too. This helps ensure great shadow detail and true blacks and the image looks clear and crisp with colours and blacks that pop thanks to the semi-glossy panel coating. You will get the optimal experience in a darkened room though where ambient lighting is low, and that will help avoid the dulling of the contrast ratio on QD-OLED panels caused by the QD layer and the lack of a polarizer. The per-pixel level dimming and high contrast ratio also make it well suited to HDR gaming, and we will measure HDR performance a bit later.

The very wide viewing angles of this technology are excellent and make the screen suitable for viewing from many different positions if you need. These wide viewing angles importantly include the freedom from things like the pale/white “IPS glow” that you get on darker content on that common LCD technology. There’s none of that here on the OLED panel.

Response Times

As discussed in our detailed article about Response Time Testing – Pitfalls, Improvements and Updating Our Methodology we are using an improved and more accurate method for capturing G2G response times and overshoot, based on figures that are more reflective to what you see visually on the screen in real-World usage. Our article linked above talks through why this is better and how we arrived at this improved method in much more detail.

The above response times are consistent at all refresh rates, including 240Hz, 120Hz and 60Hz and during VRR situations with changing frame rates. Thanks to the OLED panel the response times are super-fast and near-instant, with an average of only 0.52ms G2G measured! The best case was an incredibly impressive 0.38ms but not as low as the silly 0.03ms advertised. Response times were as expected from an OLED panel.

All transitions can keep up easily with the frame rate demands of 240Hz, and in fact this screen could comfortably keep up with >1000Hz if the panel could support it! Let’s hope OLED refresh rates are driven much higher in the coming years, as it’s a really well suited technology for that. We already know there are plans to produce panels up to 480Hz so higher refresh rates are definitely coming!

At 240Hz refresh rate there is also no visible overshoot on any transition which is great news too, so nice and clean pixel transition times. You can see a bit of minor RGB overshoot was measured with changes from black to grey along the top level but nothing visible at all in practice.

RGB overshoot at 60Hz, still not something you’d see during normal use

As the refresh rate lowers, either through VRR or changing to a lower fixed refresh rate, the overshoot value does creep up a little. At 120Hz it’s a very minor change of about 1 extra RGB value which is indistinguishable. At 60Hz it’s a bit higher as per the table above, but in practice this is not visible at all and won’t cause any problems. If you were to use an old-fashioned % overshoot approach to this measurement, it would look quite a bit higher, but when considering real visual RGB changes as our measurement method does, it’s still a very minor overshoot and nothing to worry about. This is backed up by visual tests which don’t reveal any problem with overshoot in practice. We mention it here only for completeness.

The CoreSync RGB lighting on the back can be synced with your other compatible peripherals and devices to enhance your gaming setup

Motion Clarity – Pursuit Camera Photos

We captured some pursuit camera photos of the screen at a variety of refresh rates, designed to capture real-world perceived motion clarity. This gives you a good indication of how the screen looks in real use, beyond raw measurements.

Despite the amazing pixel response times you still get large amount of blur at 60Hz due to the sample-and-hold nature of the OLED screen, you can’t expect miracles just because it’s got fast response times. There are major and obvious benefits in motion clarity as you increase to 120Hz high refresh rate mode, and this brings it on par with common 120Hz OLED screens such as the popular 42″ LG 42C2 TV, and similar 42″ OLED models like the Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ.

Moving up to 240Hz offers another significant and noticeable improvement in motion clarity, and the moving image is now sharper and clearer. Tracking of moving content is now much easier and clearer. This really was excellent motion clarity and very impressive. If you can push the screen up to 240fps in your games, you will benefit from excellent clarity and smoothness. On the G95SC, there is no overshoot or any associated artefacts or trails at any refresh rate which was excellent. The motion clarity was basically identical to the 27″ Asus ROG Swift PG27AQDM and 45″ Corsair Xeneon Flex 45WQHD240, unsurprisingly given they are also both using 240Hz OLED panels with very similar response time performance. We’d commented in our 27″ LG 27GR95QE review that there was some overshoot visible during our testing at lower refresh rates, but we believe that has been fixed in a more recent firmware now. All of these 240Hz should be on par for motion clarity.

We can also compare the motion clarity of the G95SC here against some 360Hz LCD screens we’ve reviewed, and against the first gen 175Hz QD-OLED monitors. You can see that actually despite the lower refresh rate (by 33%) the motion clarity is very similar here from the 240Hz OLED panel to the high-end 360Hz gaming LCD’s. There is a ratio of approximately 1.5:1 when it comes to motion clarity between an OLED screen and an LCD screen, thanks to the near-instant response times. So you get a motion clarity in practice beyond what you might expect from the refresh rate number. We have compared the Samsung against two 360Hz screens here.

First the BenQ Zowie XL2566K which we would rate overall as being slightly faster than the Samsung, with a slightly sharper and clearer image. This becomes a little more apparent in certain situations like with scrolling text as well, but unless you were comparing them side by side it would probably be hard to separate the two for most people. If you’re after the absolute clearest motion for Esports and competitive gaming, then something like the BenQ with its 360Hz TN Film panel has the slight edge. Compared with the 360Hz IPS panel of the 27″ Asus ROG Swift PG27AQN the motion clarity is very similar again overall. There is a small improvement in the Samsung’s 240Hz OLED motion clarity compared with the 175Hz first generation QD-OLED panels thanks to the increased 65Hz worth of refresh rate.

BFI is partly available (updated 13 Nov 2023)

Something we missed at the time of the review that a reader alerted us to is the rather hidden presence of a BFI (Black Frame Insertion) feature on the G95SC for OLED motion blur reduction. It’s not something we tested at the time or even noticed, but based on the review at Rtings.com we know the following.

It’s available only at 60Hz refresh rate, when using a 4K input signal and resolution. Both Game mode and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) need to be disabled as well and you need to have the input label set to ‘Games Console’….no wonder we missed it! This seems to be there to support 4K 60Hz games console inputs only, and Rtings confirmed it operated as expected, although no comment was provided around motion clarity benefits. With it’s super-limited scope, we are not sure how useful this would be for most people. We still want to see proper BFI return on OLED screens at higher refresh rates and without all these limitations.

Lag

Read our detailed article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. The screens tested are split into two measurements which are based on our overall display lag tests and half the average G2G response time, as measured by our oscilloscope. The response time element, part of the lag you can see, is split from the overall display lag and shown on the graph as the green bar. From there, the signal processing (red bar) can be provided as a good estimation of the lag you would feel from the display. We also classify each display as follows:

Lag Classification (updated)

  • Class 1) Less than 4.17ms – the equivalent to 1 frame lag of a display at 240Hz refresh rate – should be fine for gamers, even at high levels
  • Class 2) A lag of 4.17 – 8.33ms – the equivalent of one to two frames at a 240Hz refresh rate – moderate lag but should be fine for many gamers. Caution advised for serious gaming
  • Class 3) A lag of more than 8.33ms – the equivalent of more than 2 frames at a refresh rate of 240Hz, or 1 frame at 120Hz – Some noticeable lag in daily usage, not suitable for high end gaming

We measured the total display lag at the native 240Hz, as well as at 60Hz so that we can consider external input devices like old games consoles and Blu-ray players. The lag at 240Hz was very impressive, with only 1.29ms total display lag recorded. With ~0.13ms of that accounts for by pixel response times, there’s only ~1.16ms signal processing lag. This is very low and should be fine even for competitive gaming if you need. At 60Hz the lag was a fair bit higher at 9.43ms total display lag. We’ve provided some comparisons against other gaming displays we’ve tested below.

Console Gaming

Console Gaming
Native panel resolution5120 x 1440
Maximum resolution and refresh rate supported1440p @ 120Hz
4K @ 60Hz
Virtual 4K support
4K at 24Hz support
4K at 50Hz support
HDMI connection version2.1
HDMI connection bandwidth40Gbps
HDMI-VRR (over HDMI 2.1)
Adaptive-sync (FreeSync) over HDMI
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Display aspect ratio controls32:9, 16:9
Ultra high speed HDMI 2.1 cable providedHDMI > Micro HDM (1m)

The G95SC can handle modern games consoles pretty well, although you only get to use a part of the screens very wide format. There is 1x HDMI 2.1 and 1x Micro HDMI 2.1 input which support 40Gbps bandwidth (see below confirmation) which matches the Xbox Series X, and surpasses the 32Gbps used by the PS5. So all is fine there.

For optimal resolution support you want to use a 1440p setting (2560 x 1440) as the screen only has a 1440 pixels vertical resolution anyway. The HDMI input carries its own settings, so you will need to go in to the OSD menu and change a few things. We found that game mode for some reason defaulted to “off” in this mode, so you will want to go and set that to “auto” once you’ve turned on your console and switched to the HDMI input. That will give you full access to the game settings and a wider range of preset modes. We also found we had to manually switch the aspect ratio setting from 32:9 (default) to 16:9 on a few occasions to get it to stick, otherwise the image gets stretched drastically as neither console supports ultrawide gaming, only 16:9. We’re not sure why the screen would default to that very wide and unusual aspect ratio instead of some kind of “auto detect” mode which would have been easier when using HDMI inputs or it detects a games console is connected.

There is support for virtual 4K inputs as well which is handy for the Xbox Series X to allow support for HDR properly, although this only handles 60Hz refresh rate and not 120Hz for some reason. There’s sufficient HDMI 2.1 bandwidth here to handle 4K 120Hz, but it isn’t supported from the screen from either the PS5 or Xbox Series X. For the Xbox leave the resolution set as 1440p in the main section though which will then be used for SDR content, and just enable “4K” from the additional video modes menu. That will then trigger the virtual 4K mode only when needed for an HDR game, which the screen can handle thankfully. Otherwise we would have been without HDR support on the Xbox which would have been a major gap given the OLED panel is well equipped for HDR content. For the PS5 leave it set at 1440p (now supported thankfully by Sony) as that works with HDR anyway and you can then also prioritise higher refresh rates up to 120Hz.

The screen also supports HDMI-VRR (48 – 120Hz range for 1080p/1440p or 48 – 60Hz for 4K) and ALLM, along with 50Hz inputs. It doesn’t support 24Hz though. We mentioned earlier that the included HDMI > Micro HDMI cable is useless as it’s far too short at only 1m so you’ll need to get your own cable.

HDR

HDR Setting Complications

HDR activation and operation is very strange, and again the logic of the OSD menu and the settings is terribly thought through. Here’s what happens when you enable HDR mode in Windows and what you have to do to get HDR mode configured correctly:

  1. HDR mode is activated in Windows and the OSD quick launch menu for ‘Game mode’ now shows HDR “on”
  2. The preset mode you were using before in SDR mode remains active, there’s no specific HDR preset modes as such. So if you were using ‘original’, it will stay in that mode
  3. The setting for ‘HDR tone mapping’ in the picture > expert settings menu is now available with options of static (default) and ‘active’ available
  4. White balance menu remains accessible, and set to whatever you had it on for SDR – that’s fine really as you’d want the same D65 white point
  5. Gamma is now locked to ST.2084 which is correct for HDR. An additional slider control for ST.2084 is available for manual adjustments

So far so good….however, this is where it gets messy and complicated. First the colour space control:

  1. Colour space setting remains on what you had it on for SDR mode. If using ‘Auto’ for sRGB emulation in SDR mode, that will be carried through to HDR mode. However, if you leave it set on ‘Auto’ the HDR colour space seems to map to DCI-P3, even if the content you are displaying falls outside of this (e.g. Rec.2020 content). We measured a 98.9% DCi-P3 coverage (105.0% relative) when running in ‘Auto’ mode. This equates to 76.4% of the Rec.2020 space.
  2. If you want to make use of the full gamut of the screen and cover more of the Rec.2020 colour space for relevant HDR content, then you need to switch the colour space setting in the OSD menu to ‘native’. Then you get the full capability, with 85.2% Rec.2020 coverage (now ~117.3% DCI-P3).
  3. A lot of HDR content is mastered in P3 anyway, so you could just leave it on ‘Auto’ for both SDR and HDR modes, or you could stick with ‘native’ mode for both if you don’t mind the over-saturated colours in SDR mode, or can profile the screen for colour aware applications using a calibration tool.

The bigger problem and oddity is with the brightness though.

  1. The screens brightness setting in the OSD remains on whatever you had it set at in SDR mode. It doesn’t automatically switch up to maximum to give you the highest peak brightness capability for HDR. This means that your HDR peak brightness would be severely limited unless you manually change this setting. But that of course means you need to change it back later when you move back to SDR mode!
  2. There’s an additional new ‘peak brightness’ setting in the menu now, which is set to ‘off’ by default. There are settings for ‘medium’ and ‘high’ which we will test in a moment, but for HDR you’re going to want to switch to one of those modes, ideally ‘high’ for the best brightness.
  3. Within the Game > game picture expert menu (yes, deep within the menu again!) is a newly available ‘HDR10+ gaming’ setting with options for off, basic (default) and balanced. The help text explains that “basic mode provides the most accurate representation of the game’s original creative intent. Advanced mode provides enhanced representation of game content to maximise visual impact”. We will test both in a moment.
  4. There’s also an additional setting for ‘Game HDR’ with modes for off, basic and balanced again. The help text suggests this relates to HGiG support and so if your input device (e.g. a modern games console) supports it, you can leave this off

So overall when you switch between SDR and HDR modes it’s a real pain. There is a good way around most of this which is to use the two ‘custom’ preset modes in the OSD menu, set one up for SDR use and the other up for HDR use. Then all you need to do is switch between those modes when you enable HDR. That works with most of the settings and saves a lot of messing around when you switch. It does require some initial adjustments though as neither of the custom modes are well configured by default.

There is however a bug, and a pretty big bug, in that if you enable peak brightness (medium or high) when running in HDR mode, when you switch back to SDR it turns that back off, and when you go back in to HDR mode again it’s turned back ‘off’ again. You have to manually enable that each time you switch HDR on which is massively annoying. Anything that disrupts or changes the signal seems to reset this to ‘off’, it doesn’t remember it well. Hopefully Samsung can fix that in a future software update – which at least are simple and easy on this screen from the built-in software.

  • See after this section in this review for our recommended calibration screen settings for HDR mode
A user trying to relax despite the really complicated HDR settings and options

HDR Technical Capabilities
VESA DisplayHDR certification levelVESA DisplayHDR 400 True Black Tier
Multiple HDR formats supportedHDR10 only
Local dimmingYes, pixel level OLED
High number of local dimming zones7.3 million (per pixel)
Increased peak brightness942 nits peak (at 2% window size)
Reaching advertised peak brightnessn/aPeak brightness not advertised
Increased dynamic range (contrast) max ~Infinite:1
Increased “local” HDR contrast ratio max ~Infinite:1
Wide colour gamut >90% DCI-P3 99.3% absolute / 117.3% relative
10-bit colour depth support 10-bit supported

HDR Testing

Anyway, lets test the screen and its various HDR settings. We took these measurements once we’d set the ‘custom 2’ preset mode up to the settings we’d seen before in SDR mode, that we knew would deliver an accurate white point. This included Warm1 color tone, gamma left on ST.2084 (no alterations), brightness pushed up to maximum 50, peak brightness set to high and colour set at 25, . We will test both HDR tone mapping options, ‘static’ and ‘active’ in a moment too.

The accuracy was good on the whole. The PQ tracking shown on the right hand side was generally very good, being a little too bright in the darker shades but this actually offers slightly better visibility in shadow detail. The RGB balance was good as shown by the middle graph, leading to a decent greyscale colour temp, and being only slightly too warm by 2% on average, measured at 6400K. The white point was the same at 6406K too. This lead to a reasonable greyscale accuracy with dE 1.8 average.

The peak brightness of the screen was good for an OLED desktop monitor, reaching 952 nits in our tests for a 2% window size, representing fairly small bright highlights. Because of the ABL and the fact it’s an OLED panel, this tailed off as the bright areas became larger as is common. Note that this was with brightness slider turned up to its maximum 50 settings and the ‘peak brightness’ setting selected on ‘high’. If you use the ‘medium’ mode then it only reaches 485 nits for the same 2% window size, or 424 nits if you leave it turned ‘off’ altogether – or forget to enable it because the menu seems to forget the option when you switch between SDR and HDR modes.

We can compare the HDR brightness capability here against the other OLED monitors we’ve tested. You can see that the performance of the Samsung’s second gen 49″ QD-OLED monitor panel is basically identical to their 34″ ultrawide panel from 2022. These QD-OLED panels did reach a higher peak brightness than competing WOLED panels from LG.Display generally, like the LG and Corsair models (~600 and 725 nits respectively). Although the Asus ROG Swift PG27AQDM gets closer (924 nits) thanks to its added heatsink and the more aggressive brightness push from Asus, and also manages that brightness for larger window sizes up to 10%, whereas the QD-OLED panels brightness drops quite quickly from 2% to 10% window sizes.

The colour space of the panel was very good with an 85.2% coverage of the very wide Rec.2020 space thanks to the Quantum Dot layer. This is a little higher than last year’s gen 1 panel used in the 34″ QD-OLED monitors which reached 80.1% Rec.2020 coverage. It’s also quite a lot larger than the WOLED monitors we’ve seen released so far in 27″ and 45″ ultrawide sizes. Those cover around 73% of Rec.2020, so there is a broader colour space available here from the QD-OLED panel.

We did also test the ‘tone mapping’ setting, switching between the default ‘static’ mode’ (which is what we’d tested above) and the ‘active’ setting. You can see that the active mode quite significantly boosts the brightness in dark and mid tones, moving the PQ curve above the target yellow line in the top right graph. This leads to a brighter HDR appearance in real content which we expect some people may prefer, even if it is moving you away from the artistic intent of the content. Worth experimenting with to see which you prefer.

Best Settings Guide

We would suggest the following settings for the G95SC that you can try yourself:

SDR mode

  • Use custom 1 preset mode (available when Game mode is left on)
  • Picture > Expert Settings section
    • Brightness = whatever is comfortable for you. Some options include 16 (for 120 nits), 25 (for 150 nits) or 38 (for 200 nits)
    • Contrast = 50
    • Sharpness = 7
    • Colour = 25
    • Tint = 0
    • Contrast Enhancer = Off
    • Colour tone = Warm1 (white balance not adjusted)
    • Gamma = 2.2
    • Shadow detail – experiment in games if you want
    • Colour Space settings = Auto (if you want accurate SDR / sRGB emulation), or Native if you want wide colour space because you like the more saturated and vivid colours, or if you are going to profile the screen using a calibration tool yourself for colour-aware applications
    • Eye Care > Eye Saver mode = Off (and adaptive picture left off)

HDR mode

Here’s Why You Should Only Enable HDR Mode on Your PC When You Are Viewing HDR Content

  • Use ‘custom 2’ preset mode so you can easily switch between Custom 1 and 2 when you switch between SDR and HDR modes
    • Brightness = 50 (to deliver max HDR brightness)
    • Contrast = 50
    • Sharpness = 7
    • Colour = 25
    • Tint = 0
    • Contrast Enhancer = Off
    • HDR tone mapping = experiment. Static will be closer to artistic intent, but Active will give you a brighter image
    • Colour tone = Warm1 (white balance not adjusted)
    • Gamma = ST.2084
    • Shadow detail – experiment in games if you want
    • Colour Space settings = Native
    • Peak brightness = High (for now you will have to manually change this every time you activate HDR as the screen seems to forget this setting)
    • Eye Care > Eye Saver mode = Off (and adaptive picture left off)

Conclusion

The Samsung Odyssey OLED G95SC offers some excellent performance and an impressive OLED monitor experience. Unfortunately it is let down in a few areas by a poorly thought out or frustrating user experience. Once you get past those barriers or get used to the oddities, you can enjoy a very strong performing monitor.

Let’s get the a bad stuff out of the way first. The OSD menu, navigation and controls are just annoying. The provided remote lacks basic setting access and options, and it’s far too easy to press the wrong thing and end up having to navigate round settings to get back to where you were. The remote being white in colour is also really odd. The inability to get to certain sections of the menu from the on-monitor joystick control is frustrating, as is losing quick access to things on the remote when you disable certain other settings. Loads of settings are hidden away deep in the menu instead of there being a logical layout and quick access to the things you actually want to change regularly. Other things like only being able to get to the factory calibrated mode by disabling other things you might want to use is just daft.

HDR mode was also a real pain to figure out, having to create two custom modes in the end to get around it, and change a load of settings to get the optimal experience. The HDR peak brightness setting also seems to be forgotten when you switch modes, but that’s the kind of more basic thing that Samsung can hopefully fix with an update.

Then there’s the connections. Many are in a stupid, hard to reach place seemingly for the sake of cable tidiness, while at the same time there’s other adjacent connections not tidied away. The provided Micro HDMI cable is far too short to be of any use and was again just annoying. The problems we had getting the screen initially set up and working at 240Hz were also disappointing, as was having to mess around with settings and modes when we first connected a games console, although we got there in the end.

All this stuff leads to a poor first impression of the screen to be honest as these are the first things you’ll do when setting the monitor up and powering it on for the first time. Samsung need to spend more time refining that user experience and making it easier to use. If you’re going to provide additional things like a remote control (which we liked to have), and a Micro HDMI cable (which is a useful idea as it’s a very unusual connection), they need to be executed better. Give us a remote that matches the design and style of the $1800 USD monitor we’ve just bought, and a cable that’s actually something you can use.

Once you get past those areas and into using the screen day to day, it’s a very good monitor. It’s primarily aimed at gaming and multimedia and it does very well here. You’ve got a high 240Hz refresh rate and excellent response times resulting in excellent motion clarity for gaming, on par with other 240Hz OLED monitors now available and a small but noticeable improvement over the first gen QD-OLED options. We also had a low lag, and overall good support for modern consoles too. It can of course handle ultrawide gaming very well, so if that’s something you like for RTS games or simulators for instance then it should offer you a very impressive experience. It will also handle 16:9 gaming if you want to do that too.

The screen is also very well placed to handle HDR gaming and video. We were pleased with the HDR setup and accuracy once we’d gotten past the annoying setup and options. There was a very wide colour space, decent peak brightness and good colour accuracy too. Because of the QD-OLED panel you do need to be a bit careful about your lighting conditions to avoid impact to your contrast ratio and black depth, a bit more so than on WOLED and other monitor panels.

In normal day to day usage and when running in SDR mode the performance was very good too. There was a decent out of the box setup, which thankfully matched the frankly pointless-to-try-and-get-to factory calibration mode. There was a simple and flexible sRGB emulation option which worked really well, and gave us full access to other settings if we wanted. The panel has a wide colour gamut giving a very good coverage of DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB, although you’ll need a calibration tool to profile the screen for colour-aware applications to work with the latter. At least the capability is there though.

The experience was also pleasing for office and general usage in other areas. The brightness was adequate for the vast majority of people, being able to reach around 240 nits for SDR without the need for any ABL to be active too. That means you get a nice uniform brightness for desktop and office work at all times. It’s a limited brightness compared with LCD monitors though if you want a particularly bright screen for your usage. The text clarity isn’t perfect because of the triangular shaped pixel layout, but we did think it had improved a bit since the first gen panels thanks to the amended pixel shape. There’s still some fringing and coloured edges in places, but on the whole it was still very useable for static uses and better we thought than those based on WOLED panels. There was also thankfully no ASBL feature here so no annoying dimming during static content uses. You do of course have to be mindful of your usage type, this is an OLED panel after all where there’s always a concern of image retention, so it’s better if your primary uses are going to be dynamic. We also found the coating to provide a nice balance between glossy and matte, with a clear and crisp image that pops a bit more thanks to the semi-glossy finish, while still handling reflections very well.

Where to Buy

The Samsung Odyssey OLED G95SC is available now in some regions from Amazon, as well as other major retailers in key regions. You can check availability and pricing for your region using the links above. It’s a very good and capable screen, let down a bit by some user experience areas that could do with some refinement or updates, but once you get it up and running and set up how it should be, it’s a pleasure to use.

ProsCons
Great gaming performance with high refresh rate, excellent motion clarity, excellent response times and low lagThe menu system and navigation is really poorly thought out and a pain to use
Good default setup and good support for SDR / sRGB emulation as well as common wide gamut colour spacesAnnoying connectivity access and design
Strong HDR capability once you get it set up and configuredHDR settings and modes were confusing, and the HDR peak brightness seems to be forgotten when switching modes (bug)

Further Related Content

If you’re interested in OLED monitors but aren’t sure if there’s an option right for you just yet, you may also want to check out our recent OLED roadmap video here, which will tell you all about the new panels being planned over the next couple of years.

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